Online Content Distribution: Guide To The Best Content Syndication Services
Online content distribution services allow you to syndicate your content to other web publishers while improving your prestige, visibility and in some cases, even your end-of-month revenue. In fact, such content redistribution partners can be major publishing giants like USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and others. In this guide I have brought together and reviewed the most interesting online content distribution services presently available.
Photo credit: Roman Antoshchuk
Despite the abundance of sources available on the web, and the apparent ease of preparing new content, professional, high-quality content is still extremely difficult to acquire, and even more challenging to create.
Online distribution services try to sort this problem out by acting as intermediaries between web publishers like you and online distribution partners. The content you produce on your site is syndicated to relevant distribution partners who are free to to re-contextualize your original content in the way they see most fitting. For example, USA Today may republish a video you have shot to add more value to a news article, or The New York Times may add one of your blog posts to provide further details about a specific live event it is reporting.
The two main benefits of syndicating your content are:
1) The fact that in most cases where a distribution partner republishes your content, you are also getting a link back to your web site. As you well know, this not only may likely bring you quite a few extra visitors, but it can also boost your ranking inside the SERPs (search engine result pages).
2) The opportunity to generate extra revenues when your content is being syndicated. This means that each time an ad-enabled content widget containing your article, is published on a web site, you earn part of the advertising revenue. Or if you use a service like Mochila, which works as a content marketplace, anytime a publisher purchases your content you earn a percentage of the selling price.
3) The extra visibility and prestige that your presence on quality content partners can generate.
One thing you should be careful about, is signing exclusivity agreements. When you do so you are obliged to stick with just one distribution partner, and you cannot publish your content on other sites or through other syndication networks.
To learn more about content distribution and syndication I have prepared a comparison table where I confront the key traits of the main online content distribution services out there. Here below, the specific criteria I have personally selected to review these services:
- Exclusivity: Distribution restricted to only one partner.
- Content distribution partners: USA Today, The New York Times, Reuters, etc.
- Compensation: Potential revenue payback.
- Analytics: Content distribution data.
- Pro features: Options included in paid accounts.
Online Content Distribution Services Comparative Table
Online Content Distribution: Guide To The Best Content Syndication Services
Gigya is a widget platform that lets you distribute, track and monetize your content using web widgets. Wildfire, the proprietary technology used by Gigya, allows you to freely customize your content widgets and is designed to distribute re-shareable widgets on major social media networks, blogging platforms and even desktop platforms easily. Before embedding your widget, you can check out demographics info and the content of the website you are interested in to maximize the performance of your content inventory. Each widget can also be tracked after embed on your personal dashboard, using real-time metrics. To monetize your widgets, join the widget advertising network. Gigya pays you to promote widgets from top-tier brand advertisers. Widgets support both static and rich media ad formats. You pay only for the installs you budgeted for at the beginning of your campaign and Gigya retains a part of the revenues you make from running advertising campaigns. Every interaction, impression and viral grab is free. Each widget also lets you interact with major social networks: you make your friends sign-in and share their content using their existing accounts on Google, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and others. Users can then connect with each other right from the widget, without leaving your site. No list of content distribution partners available. Gigya does not retain exclusivity rights to distribute your content.
Mochila is an online media marketplace aimed to both content buyers and sellers. You first submit your acceptance request to the company and, when accepted, you can start looking for content to publish on your site using a widget or submit content to Mochila that others will purchase and share. If you store your content, you can select licensing rules, ad displaying and customization options (ads you deploy or ads served by Mochila), and other settings. You then earn revenues form the syndication transaction when your content is published. Web publishers instead, can acquire any syndicated content for free with advertising support or buy any content a la carte while being able to place their own ads to earn more revenues. Content can be published either along other existing information available on your site or using a micro-site format, which is a website entirely build upon a series of content widgets. The analytics reporting facility allows you to track the performances of the content you have bought or sold and deploy advertising campaigns tailored to your needs. Mochila content distribution partners include: USA Today, Reuters, MSNBC, BusinessWeek, and others. Mochila does not lock you into exclusivity distribution rights for your content.
Clearspring is a widget syndication platform that helps you redistribute and monetize your online content. After a free registration, you can access the management console, where you can configure every aspect of your widget: styling, embed options, metadata, keywords, backlinks and more. You can also set the analytics feature to focus your target audience and monitor the performances of your redistributed content once published. Clearspring allows you to run ads inside your widget (both textual or interactive) and even use the whole widget as an interactive ad to fully engage viewers. Widget are generally redistributed by grabbing a piece of HTML, but using the Clearspring Launchpad service your viewers and you can avoid using embed codes most of the time. Widgets are embeddable on major social media sites just using a point-to-click system which automatically integrates the widget inside your social pages (more information on the website). To further monetize your widgets, you can either join the affiliate partners program and partner with social websites, widget providers and layout sites that are earning money promoting widgets or simply running ads along with the content of your widgets. Clearspring does not retain exclusivity rights to distribute your content. No list of content distribution partners available.
BlogBurst is a syndication service that allows you to spread your blog content to multiple destinations, automatically. Destinations include A-listers media networks and publishers like Fox News, Reuters, McGraw-Hill, and more. You then gain more visibility and exposure for your content while also attracting new potential readers and backlinks for your niche of interest. Top bloggers also get rewarded for the content they provide. By calculating headline impressions inside a quarter, BlogBurst lists all bloggers in a chart where each blog earns a fixed compensation depending on the position reached inside the chart. To use the service, you need to comply with BlogBurst guidelines which require to publish full RSS feeds, not have ads in your feeds, produce family-friendly content, avoid typos, post at least on a weekly basis, and more (detailed guidelines available on the site). From your dashboard, you can track in real-time your headline impressions, click-troughs and other metrics of your content. BlogBurst is free to use but the service does not clearly state the agreement behind the revenue sharing program and the money the company makes using your content. Your content is not meant for exclusive use by BlogBurst.
Daylife is an online content aggregation and distribution platform. What Daylife does is pulling content from thousands of popular sources online (and your own archives), analyzing that content and then syndicating relevant information to your web site in multiple formats (text, referrals, images, video, Twitter feeds, etc.). With the content you get from Daylife, you can even create whole new pages, sections, and entire sites made up of fresh, relevant content to add vast depth on any topic, while always retaining complete editorial control. Content distribution partners include: USA Today, Sky News, Newsweek, The Washington post, and many others. Different solutions are available for both large and small publishers like customizable APIs, in-line interactive windows, embeddable widgets or point-and-click windows you can customize and add to your web site. The service also allows you to integrate ads inside the content you serve, to generate revenues while creating more click-trough opportunities and links back to your site. No analytics features. Daylife aggregates all the content it serves complying to the Google guidelines, so the company does not retain any rights on what you display on your site. Prices available upon request.
Sphere is a content syndication platform that allows you to spread your content on high-traffic websites and augment your website visibility. Whether if you are a big or a small publisher, you can distribute relevant matching content automatically to several content distribution partners like Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, etc. Big publishers can integrate contextual articles, referrals and videos inside third-party websites or take advantage of an interactive, redistributable widget. Small publishers can only use the embeddable widget to share their content. You can also use the automated widget inside your own blog posts to provide relevant content to your readers with no work from your side. The widget is free to use and optimized for major blogging platforms like WordPress, MovableType, Blogger, TypePad, and others. Sphere also provides you with a bookmarklet to install on your browser that lets you quickly share any relevant content you want to display inside the widget placed on your website. Sphere partners with ad agencies to deploy ads to your site and pay for the costs of the service. If you are an advertiser, you can also set your own ad campaigns and start deploying advertising in various formats inside widgets. Advanced paid features are available to customize the look and feel and crawling of web widgets. Sphere publishes your content under a non-exclusive agreement.
Newstex is an online content syndication platform that aggregates real-time content on the web and serves it on your site according to your focus. The company adds value to the content gathered by adding metadata, stock ticker-symbols, keywords and other categorization fields that make your content easy to find. Three distribution services are available: Blogs On Demand, News On Demand and Video On Demand. Each service automatically gathers contextual blog posts, news and videos to display on your site and engage your readers. You can also submit your own content to syndicate to other web sites. When the content you submit to Newstex is approved, the company allows major content distributors like Amazon, LexisNexis, Reuters, etc. to republish and distribute your content to their end-user customers. Also, each time an end-user customer views your blog content you earn a 30% royalty of the gross revenues based on your royalty pool participation for each product your posts are included in. No content served by Newstex is editorially reviewed before posting. Newstex does not retain rights on content aggregated and published on third-party destination sites. No analytics features available either. Contact a Newstex representative for pricing information.
Originally prepared by Robin Good and Daniele Bazzano for MasterNewMedia, and first published on August 3rd, 2009 as "Online Content Distribution: Guide To The Best Content Syndication Services".
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